Art piece of the Week by Fiona Hsieh
Mercury Retrograde made me abandon this column for an entire month. I am so sorry. Responsibilities are like, hella overwhelming sometimes. It’s fine, let’s move on.
There’s a quote from Bruce Lee that I have written on a yellow post-it note and stuck to my bathroom wall. It reads,
“Art reaches its peak when devoid of self-consciousness. Freedom discovers man the moment he loses concern over what impression he is making or about to make.”
Bruce, sir, you make a great point. Alas, I have a habit of accidentally being so hard on myself that I freeze. On many occasions, and no matter the medium of expression, I have found it difficult to create without stepping outside of myself to critique, analyze, and otherwise pick apart a project before I have the chance to finish it. The times that I am able to be entirely present always feel like a relief, and my most honest, vulnerable works are birthed in those moments.
In my own experience, art is at its most useful and impactful when the artist creates from a place of complete presence. That kind of art is born from no agenda, no force, nothing but a consuming need to express oneself and the subsequent allowing of a flow that demands release. For the creative person, I do wonder if the insistent self-questioning will ever cease to be part of the experience. I can’t even bring myself to call it part of the “process” because even that implies an assumed end point. For the creative person, it seems the questioning will always be.
On the other hand, I have realized too, that no amount of questioning the value of my creations, commentary, or contributions could ever stop me from creating. Believe me, I have tried to talk myself out of self expression too many times to count, and despite the persistent efforts of the judging voice in my head, still I cannot stop. Creative energy is sewn into every fiber of my being. An artist is something that I am. It is a fully entrenched, inseparable part of my being that I can never divorce myself from, even when my expression is blocked or I am frozen with anxiety. Even when I am self conscious, over analyzing and stealing my own joy, I cannot shake the knowing that expression is a fact of my human nature. Maybe you know the same feeling. And so, you too will create, because you have to.
I feel like it’s important to remind you that I’m twenty two years old and I don’t have any answers. I am merely another speculating body on the merry-go-round. All I really have is my curiosity. I still think about Mac Miller and miss him often, as if he were a friend. He seemed like he had some answers even though, in all likelihood, he probably didn’t. But he seemed okay with not having answers. That’s the kind of answer I need. In the book The Way of Ayurvedic Herbs by Karta Purkh Singh Khalsa and Michael Tierra, the authors write, “Knowing yourself is the foundation of life and the foundation of health and happiness. If you do not know what you are, your life becomes a meaningless game.” The only thing we can control is that we always do our best to be our authentic selves. And so, we keep digging. Rediscover your roots. Continuously reevaluate your beliefs and perceptions. It’s okay if it turns out that you are not who you thought you were. You are allowed to shift your shape, to ebb and flow, to leave and come home to yourself. Stay on your toes for the next wave.
Oh, and above all, trust ya damn self.